Choosing the right golf ball can be difficult due to the endless amount of options available on the market. With such a wide range of options it can sometimes be hard to know where to start when buying golf balls.

With this in mind, we have created a comprehensive guide that will make choosing a golf ball that bit easier. Our guide will cover all the regulations regarding golf balls, and all the different types of golf balls available to you; including the different construction types and which setting each ball type is suited to. Whether you are a beginner just starting your golfing journey, or an advanced level golfer who wants to know exactly what to look for in a premium quality golf ball, this guide has got you covered.

After reading this guide you will be able to make a well informed decision on precisely what golf ball you need to buy to suit your game.

golf ball dimensions


To the human eye, all golf balls will look the same size, but different manufacturers will slightly tweak the size or weight of their golf balls in order to provide what they deem to be the best performing golf ball. With that said, golf ball sizes and weights don't tend to vary too much as there are strict equipment rules from The Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews (R&A) that must be adhered to. Leading golf ball manufactuers like FORB are well aware of the R&A rules so golf balls are always made to fall within the legal allowances. If you were found to be using a ball that didn't adhere to R&A regulations in a local or professional tournament you would be disqualified. Below we’ll go through the golf ball rules and regulations set out by the R&A in section 4 of their equipment rules.


In the R&A rules, size is determined by the diameter of the golf ball. The rules state that the diameter of the ball must be no less than 1.68in (42.67mm). It is important to note that there is no maximum size the ball can be, as long as it conforms to all other regulations. The official test protocol uses a metal ring gauge, 1.68in in diameter, suspended in perspex. If the golf ball meets size regulations then it shouldn’t be able to fit through the gauge.


The R&A state that the weight of a golf ball must not exceed 1.62oz (45.93g). This measurement is not a minimum and balls can be made lighter, as long as the golf ball meets all other equipment rules. The testing for the weight of the golf ball is fairly simple. All that is required is an accurate set of scales to see if the ball is over the weight limit.

Spherical Symmetry

All golf balls must be designed so that they are spherical in shape and behave like a ball that is symmetrical. The R&A specifically state that ‘The ball must not be designed, manufactured or intentionally modified to have properties which differ from those of a spherically symmetrical ball.’ The intent of this rule is to ensure that a ball is designed and manufactured to behave symmetrically.

What are golf balls made of?

A golf ball’s construction can consist of anywhere between 1-5 materials (also known as ‘layers’ or ‘pieces’). Each golf ball is made differently and ultimately the design will depend on the manufacturer and what performance characteristics they want the ball to display.

Below we will break down the materials used in each golf ball construction type, ranging from balls with 1 piece to balls with 5 layers, explaining how each material affects the performance of the golf ball.

One-Piece Golf balls

One-piece golf balls are constructed from just one layer of material. Typically these golf balls are made from 100% rubber or a solid piece of Surlyn. The dimples on the golf ball are then pressed directly into the golf ball. Both rubber and Surlyn are highly durable and can withstand constant impact from club heads or hazards. The single layer restricts how far these balls can travel which, when paired with their durability properties, makes this type of golf ball perfect for driving ranges that have a limited amount of space.

1 piece golf ball

Two-Piece Golf Balls

Two-piece golf balls have an additional layer to one-piece golf balls. The ball will consist of an inner core made from solid rubber, which helps generate distance, carry and bounce on shots. The extra layer is a dimpled outer cover made from either Surlyn or Urethane which both have great durability properties and add some spin control to the golf ball.

2 piece golf ball

Three-Piece Golf balls

Three-piece golf balls consist of three layers of material and are popular amongst those players who are looking for more control of their golf ball. The core is made of either a liquid-filled or solid rubber which again will assist with distance, especially with shots off the tee and long approach shots to the green. The extra layer, which is known as the mantle layer, is a layer of impact resin, which is a softer layer, and provides the extra feel and spin control around the greens that many golfers prefer. The structure is then complete with a dimpled cover made from either a Surlyn or more commonly, Urethane, due to not only its durability, but its slightly softer feel which further enhances the control of spin and flight of the golf ball.

1 piece golf ball

Four-Piece Golf Balls

Four-piece golf balls are commonly sought after by professional golfers who possess much faster swing speeds and have the power to maximise distance and control the flight and spin of their golf ball. The ball is made up of the solid rubber or liquid filled core, the innermost layer of the ball. This layer adds the distance and carry to the golf ball as energy is transferred from the clubface to the core.

The ‘inner mantle’ is the layer closest to the core and a thinner and softer rubber is used for this layer to help transfer the energy from the clubface through to the core of the golf ball to help give the golf ball it’s distance and carry, whilst not compromising on spin control in the air and around the greens.

The third layer, also known as the ‘outer mantle’ is made from a firmer, MOI boosting, rubber layer. MOI or ‘moment of inertia’ is the ability of the club to resist twisting at contact with the golf ball. The design of this layer helps make the ball more forgiving and reduces the amount of club twisting on impact. This will help the golfer hit straighter shots, increase their shot distance and assist the roll of the golf ball on the green when putting. The ball is then cased with a dimpled urethane cover, which as mentioned previously, gives the golf ball its durability against constant impacts with the clubface and hazards such as bunkers. Urethane will also further enhance the spin control of the golf ball around the greens, which is why these balls are so popular amongst the best golfers.

2 piece golf ball

Five-Piece Golf Balls

Five-piece balls are less common on the market and most suited to professional or low handicap golfers who are willing to pay a premium for golf balls. These balls have the softest feel and will spin the most out of all the types of golf ball. The different materials within the golf ball will benefit different shot types and swing speeds. The best players will opt for this golf ball because whilst the ball is softer and has greater spin, they don’t lose any distance due to their faster swings and power compared to a high handicap golfer.

They consist of a synthetic rubber core to give the ball its bounce and distance off the tee. The three middle layers are known as the ‘mantle’ layers, the first is made of a soft synthetic rubber that allows the energy generated through the golf swing from the clubface through to the core of the golf ball. The second mantle is manufactured from HPF 1000 which is a soft thermoplastic and the third layer a slightly firmer thermoplastic. Both of these layers will allow for the softer feel of the golf ball and give golfers great control of the ball flight across different shot types.

Urethane is the choice of cover for the five-piece golf balls, as it contributes to the soft feel and helps create friction with the clubface to encourage more spin on the golf ball.

Golf Ball Covers - Urethane vs Surlyn Golf Balls

As mentioned earlier, the two materials commonly used for the outer casing of golf balls are Surlyn and Urethane. Both materials have different properties making them suitable for a variety of golf ball types.

Both materials are extremely durable and can withstand the impact from golf clubs as well as cart paths, trees and sand out on the golf course. However, Surlyn has a slight edge when it comes to durability, making this type of cover a great choice for driving range balls as they will have to withstand countless impacts daily on a driving range. Urethane, whilst still having great durability, is softer off the clubface and will be used more for golf balls used out on the course.

Urethane covered golf balls provide more spin around the greens and give a golfer a more predictable, controllable ball flight. Urethane creates more friction with the clubface during impact, which allows golfers to put more spin on the ball and gives greater control of the ball around the greens and helps with shot shaping. Surlyn covered balls are still able to generate spin, but there won’t be as much as Urethane covered balls and the amounts of spin will be less predictable.

Surlyn covered golf balls are designed to assist players with slower swing speeds and less power to achieve greater distance. Due to the ball's lower rate of spin, golfers can hit the ball further off the tee. Urethane balls can still travel far off the tee, but due to the slightly softer feel and higher levels of spin, they won’t travel as far as Surlyn covered balls and require a golfer with more power to compensate for the difference in distance between the two balls.

Urethane covered balls tend to be suited to those who already have the swing speed to strike the ball greater distances but are looking for more control of their golf ball around the greens. Golfers with slower swing speeds, who are looking to gain more distance off the tee and through the air will tend to opt for Surlyn covered golf balls, in order to help them to maximise distance.

Foam and Plastic Golf Balls

Golfers who are looking to practise their ball striking and chipping techniques at home will typically buy foam or plastic golf balls. These balls are much lighter and softer in design to minimise ball flight, allowing players to work on their game without the risk of damaging property.

Other golf ball FAQs

Why does a golf ball have dimples?

Dimples on a golf ball are the small symmetrical indentations on the surface of the golf ball that look like mini craters. A golf ball will have dimples to help the ball travel further through the air than it would without dimples. The dimples will vibrate the air around the ball mid-flight and reduce the drag and add distance to the golf shot.

A smooth golf ball would make the air travel around the ball quickly, adding turbulence and drag to the ball. This then forces the ball out of the air earlier and would remove yardage off golf shots.

How many dimples are there on a golf ball?

There is no limit to the amount of dimples a manufacturer can make on the surface of a golf ball. A manufacturer once produced a ball with over 1,700 dimples! This was quickly discontinued, implying that having more dimples on the ball may not benefit performance and instead an optimal amount of dimples is more desirable. Typically, golf balls will have between 250 to 500 dimples, with the average amount being 336 dimples.

What does golf ball compression mean?

Golf ball compression is the change in shape of the golf ball as the clubface strikes the golf ball. If you were to watch a slow-motion, close-up replay of a golf club hitting the ball, it will look like the golf ball is being squashed and changes shape dramatically.

Golf ball compression is typically given a rating between 30 and 120 to describe how hard or soft a golf ball is. The lower the rating the softer the golf ball, and the higher the compression rating the harder the golf ball. A rating of 70 or below is considered to be a low compression golf ball and anything over 100 is considered to be a high compression golf ball. Softer, low compression golf balls are most suited to players with slower swing speeds, who struggle for distance on their golf shots. High compression golf balls offer golfers with faster swing speeds more control and precision to their shots.

How do you choose a golf ball?

Below, we have put together a breakdown of golf ball information, with all the main features of the different golf ball types available in our comprehensive FORB premium golf ball range. We have also included what situations and which golfers each ball is most suited to, in order to make sure you know exactly which golf ball you need.

FORB Distance+ Golf Balls

Golf Ball Type


Best Suited For

Golfers of all abilities out on the golf course

Key Features

• High energy rubber core for maximum initial velocity and distance
• Surlyn cover for enhanced durability and a soft feel
• The large core and aerodynamic dimple pattern minimises drag for a boost in distance off the tee
• Alignment design allows for the easy lining up of putts on the green without the need for a marker
• 80% compression allows for maximum distance and spin control, even for golfers with slower swing speeds

2-Piece Forb Distance+ Golf Balls

FORB SF-3 Golf Balls

Golf Ball Type


Best Suited For

Golfers of a wide range of skill levels out on the course

Key Features

• 332 dimples to optimise aerodynamics and reduce drag for maximum distance on all shots
• 90% compression meaning maximum energy transfer from the clubface to the ball allowing maximum speed for increased distance
• Middle layer made out of an Impact resin which gives a greater control and softer feel without sacrificing distance across all golf club types
• Soft and durable Urethane cover that provides outstanding control of spin on approach shots and around the green
• Combination of feel and durability makes the ball a great option for a wide range of skill levels
• Alignment design allows for putts to be lined up on the green without the need to mark your ball

SF-3 3-Piece Golf Balls

FORB F-5 Tour Quality Golf Balls

Golf Ball Type


Best Suited For

Golfers looking for a high performance golf ball

Key Features

• Tour quality golf ball that gives the best feel available
• Manufactured with 338 dimples, the ball speed is maintained off the club producing a more aerodynamic flight to maximise distance off the tee and for long approach shots to the green
• Compression rating of 90 for the most control of the golf ball
• Ultra-soft Urethane cover provides a long lasting golf ball with excellent spin control
• Outer mantle layer boosts MOI which will assist with a more consistent ball roll when putting
• Soft inner mantle layer helps with the transfer of energy from the clubface to the core to boost distance without losing any control of spin
• Inner core is designed with explosive PHSC technology to maximise distance, carry and bounce

2-Piece driving range Golf Balls

FORB 1-Piece Driving Range Golf Balls

Golf Ball Type


Best Suited For

Driving ranges under 275 yards in length

Key Features

• Excellent durability thanks to 100% rubber design
• Specialised design limits flight and distance in order to keep balls within the range
• Excellent value for money

driving range golf balls

FORB 2-Piece Driving Range Golf Balls

Golf Ball Type


Best Suited For

Driving ranges with no distance limits

Key Features

• 2-piece design gives the driving range ball the closest feel to a tournament ball
• Surlyn cover to withstand endless impacts
• Can withstand constant impacts making the ball perfect for the driving range
• Solid rubber core provides extra distance off the tee

2-Piece driving range Golf Balls

FORB Foam Golf Balls

Golf Ball Type

Foam Ball

Best Suited For

Golfers of all ages and abilities looking to practise chipping, putting and ball striking at home

Key Features

• Manufactured from high quality premium polyurethane foam
• Foam design protects objects and property from damage
• 336 dimple design replicates the look and feel of a regular golf ball

Foam golf balls

FORB Air Flow Plastic Golf Balls

Golf Ball Type

Plastic Ball

Best Suited For

Golfers of all ages and abilities looking to practise chipping, putting and ball striking at home

Key Features

• Manufactured from premium plastic for durability and performance
• Hollow air-vented design to significantly reduce ball flight and distance
• Weighs just 5g, making the ball perfect for practise at home without the risk of property damage

2-Piece driving range Golf Balls

At Net World Sports we stock a comprehensive range of FORB golf equipment, including golf balls. From driving range balls and foam golf balls, to the F-5 Tour Golf Ball, we have the perfect golf balls for you to play and practise anywhere. Our golf balls match our big competitors in areas such as ball speed, distance, spin and height. We don’t have the same marketing costs as the household names in golf equipment, meaning we can offer comparable golf balls at lower prices.

We also sell a collection of versatile golf mats, golf cages and garden golf nets to take your game to the next level.